May 14, 2021


Wednesday marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day. That night, we welcomed the holiday of Tu B’Shevat, also known as the Jewish “birthday” of the trees or the “New Year of the Trees.“

The marriage of these two days is chilling. The 6 million souls murdered in the Holocaust were like individual human trees. Each had the potential to grow, flourish and bear fruit for generations. They were obliterated.

But one thing remained that could never be destroyed.

Their roots.

The roots of Jews who perished in the Holocaust, like the roots of all Jews, go back 3,300 years to Mount Sinai. What gives Holocaust survivors the sustenance to keep going? What motivates future generations of Jews to double down on life?

It’s not just the memory of those who passed away. It’s also the memory of the hundreds of generations who came before them, the generations who struggled and prevailed against all odds. These generations are the Jewish roots.

As we remember the 6 million souls who left us, we can also remember the millions of souls who came before them and those who will come after.

The roots that go back to ancient times represent resilience; the trees of Tu B’Shevat represent growth and renewal.

Yesterday we mourned. Today we plant and renew.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Jewish News Syndicate